Considering The Ethical Matrix For Animal Welfare
This presentation was conducted by Dr. Raymond Anthony to the United States Department of Agriculture’s Informal Animal Welfare Working Group. It describes an “ethical matrix” for making policy decisions and examines California’s Proposition 2 as an example.
The ethical matrix offers a structured way of working through ethical issues to promote “rational thought and democratic deliberation.” The three major principles are:
- Respect for well being: consequentialism
- Respect for autonomy: rights-based
- Respect for injustice: institutional/distributive
These principles reflect common morality. Applying the ethical matrix to California’s Proposition 2 can help illustrate its use.
Strengths of the matrix:
- The matrix gives a framework to envision and assess advantages and disadvantages as well as other moral values, and to consider implications to interested parties.
Limitations of the matrix:
- Are the principles sufficient
- Is the principled approach the best way to consider competing interests and moral values?
- If the aim is to aid democratic and rational deliberation, then it is a helpful decision-making tool